How to Build a Palisade Fence

What You'll Need
Treated timber
Galvanized nails
Spirit level

Building a palisade fence around your garden can make it look better, offer more privacy and help to keep pets in or other animals out. A palisade fence is a particularly good choice for those who are looking for a more traditional look which well defines the garden and also helps to protect the property. A palisade fence, also known as a picket fence can be beautified with the addition of climbing plants and flowerbeds along them. Building your own is not a technologically complicated task, but it is one which is highly labor intensive. If possible, you should have someone to help you, especially since fence posts can be heavy and difficult to handle.

Step 1 – Plan the Fence

Before you purchase any materials or start work, plan out the fence on graph paper and draw the design to scale. Decide on the height of the fence and mark the spaces between the fence posts. For a strong and durable fence, the fence posts should be no more than six feet apart. Work out how much timber you need to purchase and cut. Bear in mind that every section of the fence between the posts will consist of two to three rails and the wooden pickets themselves. The number of these required depends on their width but they normally come already cut to six feet in height and there should be twenty in each section.

Step 2 – Place the Fence Posts

Dig the holes about six feet apart and place eight nine-feet-high fence posts in the ground. The holes should be about three feet in depth and soil should be firmly packed back in place around the bases of the posts to ensure that they stand strong. For this type of fence, there is no need for mortar to hold the fence posts in place. Before you secure a fencepost in place, ensure that it is level by using a spirit level. You can tie lengths of string between the posts, connecting all of them, to keep them level and in a perfectly straight line. Keep the string tight.

Step 3 – Place the Horizontal Rails

Depending on your choices and the height of the fence, you will have either two or three horizontal rails connecting each fence post. Install these by starting with the lowest one, installing it about eight inches above where the pickets will define the bottom of the fence. Place the upper rail about eight inches below where the top of the fence will be. If there is a third rail, these should be installed equidistant between the other two. Be sure to use durable galvanized nails for the job.

Step 4 – Place the Vertical Rails

The vertical rails, or pickets, should then be nailed in place onto the horizontal rails. As before, use galvanized nails for extra durability.